Sun Empire and Kings Ryker primed for Sunday
Kranji barrier trials
Their recent runs have been the type best forgotten.
KINGS RYKER finished down the course in his last three starts while SUN EMPIRE could have trouble finding his way to the winners' enclosure, having last visited that hallowed spot some 10 months ago.
But for all those blemishes, both were the stars at Tuesday's trials.
Incidentally, both runners have also been entered for Sunday's races and it wouldn't be a bad idea to keep them on your radar.
Let's deal first with Sun Empire. He ran in the third of Tuesday's five trials and, for a modest Class 5 runner he did just fine, winning his 1,000m jump-out and doing it in 60.09sec - the fastest of the morning.
Tracking the early leaders King's Stead and Dan The Man for 700m of the trip, his rider CC Wong clicked him into action at the 300m mark and the rest had no answer to his finishing burst.
With Wong riding hands and heels, Sun Empire left his rivals trailing in his wake, like it was some sort of a religious procession for the Sun God. He would eventually win by almost three lengths.
Trained by Desmond Koh, Sun Empire is a seasoned campaigner having raced 40 times for five wins and three seconds.
While he has been off the boil in his last 12 starts going back to August last year, it is worth noting that it was around this time last year that he put a "1" on the board, beating Whose Else's in a 1,400m sprint.
That was in Class 4. He would go on to register another all-the-way win in August, that time beating Davinci.
It earned him promotion to Class 3 where he was never able to throw in a punch.
Dropped back to Class 4 at the beginning of the year, Sun Empire only plodded along.
Now, on Sunday and for only the second time, he will race in Class 5 company where in August of 2015 he opened his Kranji account.
This is where, we figure, the "Empire" will strike back.
As for Kings Ryker, there was no economy in effort when he took the fourth trial of the morning.
Ridden by Matt Kellady, the Laurie Laxon-trained six-year-old played the predator until the 600m mark where he put the pacemakers to bed. Then onwards, he was never headed. He would clock 61.11sec for the 1,000m.
A familiar runner at the trials, Kings Ryker has had as many of them as he has had races since his last success in October.
Indeed, he has raced just three times in the last seven months and all have been over the shorter trips than, what we believe is his "better distance".
Come Sunday, he gets back to his favoured trip of 1,700m and, with the benefit of that Tuesday trial, expect him to run a huge race.